Date 18th January 2019
Society Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society
Venue Hertford Theatre
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Darren Jones
Musical Director Joanna Pierce
Choreographer Ella Martin


Author: Vicki Avery

The first thing that struck me when I entered the auditorium was the stunning front cloth, setting the mood for the pantomime to come.

Aladdin ably directed by Darren Jones, with musical direction by Joanna Pierce, took us through a new version of this well- loved panto, written by company member Daniel Goode, through Old Peking, Twankey’s laundry, the Emperors palace , Abanazar’s den and beyond!  

The script was funny and well delivered, particularly by Ian Greenwood as ‘Widow Twankee’, whose ‘throw away’ delivery was most effective and very funny. Costumes were very colourful and suited the character perfectly.

‘Abanazar’ played by Daniel Goode was very well acted and completely convincing as the evil magician. 

More good support was provided by Aladdin (Richard Churchill). This young actor worked the stage well and showed that not only was he totally enjoying his experience on stage, but his confidence grew as the story progressed. A good allrounder who could act, sing and dance. What a shame that at his first big entrance through the auditorium his mic’ was not switched on until the chorus joined him. His solo verse had no amplification at all. 

Princess Jasmine, (Mollie Brown), sang well and was a good match to Aladdin. However, I did not feel that her costumes were significantly different or regal enough when compared with her handmaidens. Her hair also did not do her character justice. Minor points I know but in panto a princess should look like a princess.

The handmaidens (Jasmine O’Shea, Becky Rowley and Katie Spinks) had great voices which added into the musical mix.

PC Ping and PC Pong (Elaine Miller and Michael Champness D’Abreu respectively) displayed brilliant comedy timing and the kids (and adults) found their foolish antics hilarious.  Well done! The inclusion of a Little Ping and a Little Pong (George Anderson and Ava Budd) gave an added dimension to the story. Good idea.

The Slave of the ring, (Amelia Acheson), had what I can only describe as “personality-plus” – I loved her interpretation of this role.

There was also a strong performance throughout from Neil Lyons as the Emperor of China - good character played with style and great timing.

For me, most accomplished of all was Cedar Rose Johnson who took on the role of Wishee Washee. This young actress is learning the craft of pantomime by getting out there and experiencing it. Vocally she was excellent, interaction with the audience was very good and the interplay between her and the other characters was on point. I enjoyed this performance very much and look forward to watching her grow as an actress. Well done.

Finally, what can one say about the Genie of the Lamp, perfectly costumed, displaying such an “understated” OTT performance as to bring on the smiles before he even opened his mouth?  Chris Lucas was excellent in this role!

“Baby Shark” as the community number, went down a storm with everyone joining in and enjoying themselves doing all the actions.  

With a superb supporting cast of Dancers, junior chorus and chorus this production was filled with fun, laughter and great musical numbers – all under the direction of Joanna Pierce as MD, with her great sounding band.

Lighting was good and scenery appropriate for the storyline.

Congratulations to all involved in this super production.